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SPRI Review 1999: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service

W.J. Mills, Keeper and Librarian

With the Shackleton Memorial Library officially opened on 20 November 1998, this year has been largely devoted to accommodating our collections as well as ourselves to our magnificently extended library. This has, in fact, involved a very considerable amount of work. For a library, acquisition of space offers opportunity not just for moving collections, but for their extensive reorganisation. Indeed, this process has only just begun. The most significant reorganisation accomplished so far involved moving the photographic collections to the new photographic store. Here they have been re-housed in a specially commissioned shelving system and are being progressively re-wrapped in approved materials to ensure long-term conservation. This latter work has been made possible by a grant from the Gladys Krieble Foundation. Elsewhere, the Atlas Collection is now to be found in the Friends Room, where purpose-built shelving provides vertical slatted spaces into which even the largest volumes can be placed. Other moves will take place once the Library comes into full occupation of the new basement.

Captain and Mrs Edwin MacDonald were frequent visitors and good friends to the Institute for many years. Captain MacDonald was a world authority on the logistical aspects of polar operations. After his death, Mrs Jessie B. MacDonald continued her connection with the Institute and gave generously each year to support the purchase of Antarctic books. On her death in July 1998, she named the Institute as a beneficiary in her will. Under the terms of this, the Institute has set up the 'Captain Edwin Anderson MacDonald, USN and Jessie Bell MacDonald Fund', the proceeds of which are 'to be used for the purchase of materials relating to the polar regions'. We are proud to be able to remember Captain and Mrs MacDonald in this way, and the MacDonald Fund will contribute greatly to the enhancement of the Institute's collections.

Two other funds have been set up this year. Established by anonymous benefaction, the purpose of the Nordic Fund is to support purchase and maintenance of publications relating to the European Arctic, Greenland, and Iceland. Last year's SPRI Review reported the donation of the polar library of Wilfred White. Whilst many books from this library have been added to the Institute's collections, some duplicate volumes have been sold, the proceeds going to the 'Wilfred White Fund' to be used for the purchase of rare and antiquarian publications of the type that Wilfred himself was so expert in collecting.

As the preceding paragraphs make clear, the Library continues to benefit greatly from public generosity. All donations, of whatever size, are appreciated, although special funds can only be set up for relatively substantial amounts. Anyone interested in establishing a fund for the purchase of Library, Archive or Museum materials is invited to contact the Keeper and Librarian.